On June 30, 2011, Daniel Córoba-Mendiola, founder and director of THE HUNTER, spokes of trends at the time of friction.
The firm The Hunter is dedicated to researching trends for clients of all kinds, especially fashion companies. It is a think tank in which up to fifteen professionals from different companies and fields can take part. Currently, at a time when we are seeing many changes, it is very useful to conduct studies of this kind in order to gain a better understanding of what is happening. Lifestyles are being questioned in all contexts and all aesthetic trends are a reflection of this.
We have gone from a banal, neo-baroque phase, represented by Lady Gaga, to neo-romanticism. From nostalgia for the past to melancholy.
In 2008, when Lehman Brothers collapsed and nobody knew what was going to happen, there was an auction at Sotheby’s of works by Damian Hirst, who was selling them directly, skipping all intermediaries. In two days he made 350 million euros. The type of art which does not lose its value is that which is related to the market. Converse asked the same artist to produce a limited edition of his famous butterfly pictures. He did so, in an edition limited to the printer run. Other examples are Takashi Murakami, who rests his discourse on the importance attached to the art world by the market, and Jeff Koons, known for his marriage to Cicciolina and who always works with the imaginary world of the yuppies of the 80’s.
We are currently living in the “age of friction”, the sum of what goes into the great imaginary worlds, “story telling”. It is a question of building imaginary worlds of brand, product, of place. But this alone is not enough. One must opt for explicitness. The environment is based on impossible promises, self-referential pastiches. Apple seeks its legitimacy on the market from the fact of being Apple, and Starbucks because it is Starbucks. This alignment is the best way of making all that is superlative tangible; it is the time of trade fairs, of events. It is a matter of fragmenting the commercial moment over a period of time and launching a promise agreed upon by all. It means working with everything that might be an unbelievable fiction.
And with the crisis, suddenly, we place at the forefront imaginary worlds which are tremendously vulgar, direct, real, coarse, which no longer work on projection but on empathy. Along comes the “people’s princess”, the “I’m not stupid.” This is the concept of “frictioned” reality – theming becomes important once more. We have to learn to live with both things: impossible semantic fields and a rather coarse, explicit environment.
This is the case of Abercrombie. It creates a fantastic imaginary world of beautiful people, and to attract people to the opening event the same character is at the door of the shop having semi-naked photographs taken with everybody who goes into the shop. He stares lewdly at the young shopper – and their mother. The mixture of the unreal with the coarsest, most direct “Now!” impulse.